Pyongyang says US, South Korea must present new solutions for conflict

North Korea’s Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Kim Hyong Ryong said the situation has relapsed into a ‘dangerous, vicious cycle’ of exacerbating tensions because of the actions of the US and South Korean governments. (Reuters)
Updated 21 October 2019

Pyongyang says US, South Korea must present new solutions for conflict

  • Kim Hyong Ryong, Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, says North Korea has worked to build lasting peace
  • But that the situation has relapsed into a ‘dangerous, vicious cycle’ of exacerbating tensions because of US and South Korean actions

BEIJING: The United States and South Korea must produce new solutions for the current standoff on the Korean Peninsula, a senior North Korean military official said on Monday, warning that hostile policies toward Pyongyang would lead to serious consequences.
The remarks add to recent comments from Pyongyang expressing discontent at the lack of progress in its negotiations with Washington. This month North Korea issued a veiled threat about ending the freeze in long-range missile testing amid continued economic sanctions and pressure aimed at pushing it to give up its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
Kim Hyong Ryong, North Korea’s Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, said at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing that North Korea has worked to build lasting peace but that the situation has relapsed into a “dangerous, vicious cycle” of exacerbating tensions because of the actions of the US and South Korean governments.
“Though it has been more than one year since the DPRK-US joint statement was adopted, there is no progress in improving bilateral relations between the two countries, completely because of the US’ anachronistic, hostile policies against the DPRK,” Kim said, referring to his country by the initials of its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He also accused South Korea of a “double-dealing attitude” in continuing to carry out military drills with the US and buying advanced military equipment. “Bearing in mind our firm will to safeguard peace in the region, the United States and the South Korean authorities must refrain from any actions disrupting the stability of the situation and come up with a new way for solving the problem,” Kim said.
North Korea has conducted missile tests in recent months, including that of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, and broke off the latest working-level nuclear talks with the US in early October.
Pyongyang’s top negotiator for the talks blamed the US for the breakdown and said Washington “brought nothing” to the negotiating table. Pyongyang has so far stuck to a freeze in testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that has been in place since 2017 and allowed for three meetings between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and US President Donald Trump since last year.
North Korean state media reported last week on Kim Jong Un’s visit to Mt Paektu, the spiritual homeland of the Kim dynasty, and that his aides are convinced the leader plans “a great operation,” which experts say may signal a major shift in Pyongyang’s stance toward the US in the coming months.
Some analysts say possible North Korean actions could include another space launch or an intercontinental ballistic missile test.


Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

A woman holds a sign during a protest against the execution of Rodney Reed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

  • Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed

WASHINGTON: A Texas appeals court has suspended the execution of convicted murderer Rodney Reed — who has long claimed his innocence — in a case that has attracted widespread public attention and a celebrity-backed campaign.
Reed, a 51-year-old African-American, was sentenced to death in 1998 after being convicted by an all-white jury of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
His execution by lethal injection had been set for November 20, but Reed says he did not commit the crime, and his lawyers and supporters say that evidence proves he is innocent.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced on Friday that it had “voted unanimously to recommend the governor grant a 120-day reprieve” to Reed, who had appealed for clemency.
The state appeals court then halted the execution later in the evening.
Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed.
Kardashian said on social media she was with Reed when he received news about the reprieve.
Although traces of Reed’s DNA were found in the victim, he has always maintained that he and Stites were secretly having an affair.
Reed’s lawyers say that evidence obtained after the trial points to another suspect — the victim’s fiance, Jimmy Fennell, a former policeman who later served a 10-year prison sentence for another rape.
“The strong evidence exonerating Mr.Reed and implicating Fennell continues to mount,” the lawyers wrote in the clemency petition lodged with the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.
In the clemency request, they included a testimonial from a former co-worker of the victim who confirmed the affair.
According to another affidavit, a former prison inmate said he heard Fennell brag during a prison yard conversation about committing the murder.
Fennell has denied involvement in Stites’ murder.
The Texas board declined Reed’s request to downgrade his sentence.
His lawyers also have filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay of execution.